Iron is an important component of proteins that are involved in oxygen transport and metabolism in the human body. Iron also helps regulate cell growth and cell differentiation. A lack of iron can lead to fatigue and a weakened immune system. Approximately 15% of the body’s iron is stored for future needs and used when dietary intake of iron is inadequate.
There are two forms of dietary iron: heme iron (found in meat, fish, and poultry) and nonheme iron (found in lentils and beans). Some foods like flours, cereals, and grains are fortified with nonheme iron.
Iron is an electron donor and receiver. An example of why the human body needs iron is for oxygen transport. Too little or too much iron can cause health issues, however.
Proper iron levels can be really important for women of child bearing age. They may lose too much blood with their menstrual cycle, and become anemic. During pregnancy iron is important to grow the baby and placenta.
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